Opioid overdoses have claimed the lives of nearly one million Americans since 1999. In the past 20 years, the abuse of these potent substances has increased, as have the rates of overdose. It is estimated that 130 people die each day in the United States due to opioid overdose. For many of those who lose their lives, they accidentally consumed an opioid that was cut with another more potent opioid that they weren’t aware of or they finally built up a tolerance so high that the body was no longer able to process the opioids.
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When an overdose is occurring, the body starts to shut down. The user loses consciousness and his or her central nervous system stops functioning, stopping one’s breathing. Some people who experience an opioid overdose are able to be revived by Narcan, however, that is only if it is administered in time.
Opioid addiction is a deadly disease. Without treatment, those who are addicted to substances like heroin, OxyContin, Percocet, and fentanyl will eventually die if they continue to participate in their addiction. Thankfully, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can help.
Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction
Addiction to any type of mind-altering substance is complex to treat, as all areas of one’s life have been impacted in several different ways by this disease. Opioid addiction, in particular, is not only the most common type of addiction in the country at the moment but is also notoriously difficult to get sober from. With medication-assisted treatment, however, getting sober after being addicted to opioids is possible.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines medication-assisted treatment (or MAT) as “the use of FDA-approved medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to provide a “whole patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.”
Today, this approach to treating opioid addiction is known as the “gold standard” and has saved the lives of those who could have otherwise lost their battle with addiction to opioid overdose.
The medications that are used in medication-assisted treatment are, as mentioned, approved by the FDA for use in this setting.
Suboxone is capable of activating the opioid receptors in the brain. When this activation occurs, clients will notice a marked decrease in the severity of their withdrawal symptoms and their overpowering cravings. This is because the opioid receptors have been activated, but the client does not get high as a result.
Naltrexone, which is slightly different from buprenorphine, completely blocks the function of opioid receptors. Therefore, when someone tries to use again, he or she does not get the sensation of being high at all. Naltrexone is also highly effective in treating alcohol use disorder for the same purpose as opioid addiction. Many people recognize this medication known by its brand name Vivitrol. Vivitrol works the same way except it is the extended-release version. Patients can get one injection at a time that lasts about 30 days.
Each one of these medications is deemed clinically safe when they are used as prescribed. They do not interfere with one’s cognitive abilities as more potent opioids would. In fact, when they are taken as directed, they can help provide mental clarity to clients, as they are not fixated on the withdrawal symptoms they are experiencing or the cravings they are having.
Medication-assisted treatment programs prescribe one of these medications to a client at the beginning of his or her treatment. It is possible that he or she remains on that same medication until his or her treatment has been completed, but it is also possible that he or she will transition to another one of these medications.
These decisions are all based on the needs of the client. However, the longest amount of time that it is recommended that these medications are taken for this purpose is two years.
These medications are not even close to being as effective as they can be if they are not being taken while a client is also participating in therapy at the same time. It is the combination of the two that brings so much success to those who are ready to recover from opioid addiction. Therefore, continuing to consume these medications while participating in individual therapy, experiential therapy, etc. is ideal.
Medication-Assisted Treatment in Elizabethtown
Medication-assisted treatment in Elizabethtown can be the answer that you have been looking for. Proudly serving the Kentucky area, we are dedicated to ensuring that your experience with us is what gets you solidified in your recovery. When you first come to us, we will conduct an assessment and thorough evaluation that will cover several different topics, most specifically your history with opioid abuse. The more we know about your relationship with opioids, the better course of care we can provide you.
We know that there is no straight line to recovery, which is why when we develop a customized treatment plan for you, we leave plenty of room to make alterations as you go. You are bound to have many successes (and sometimes setbacks) during your treatment, so to help supplement those, we never rule out different approaches to your care.
The goal of medication-assisted treatment in Elizabethtown is to help you finally put a stop to your opioid abuse. Therefore, once you enroll in our program, we will get you started right away on either methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone—whichever will be most effective for you. As you go through detox, rest assured that you will be made as comfortable as possible and that the medication we have prescribed you will aid in that comfort.
When you are stable enough, you will begin participating in therapy sessions such as cognitive behavioral therapy, experiential therapy, and group counseling to help address the emotional, mental, and spiritual areas of your life that have been impacted by your addiction.
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Medication-assisted treatment in Elizabethtown houses all the resources you need in order to put your opioid addiction behind you for good. If you are struggling with opioid addiction and do not know what to do or where to go, stop everything and call medication-assisted treatment in Elizabethtown right now. We can help you change your life for the better.